Former Resident Managing Violinist ‘Destined to be New Star’
Murray Thunberg (left) in Toronto with Russian musician Eugene Draw at a rehearsal at the Royal Conservatory of Music (photo supplied). Print edition in March 17 edition of The Provost News. Want to Subscribe to The Provost News? Click here.
Former Provost-Hayter area resident Murray Thunberg now lives in Toronto and is deeply involved in the music industry.

Thunberg has published a new CD under his entertainment label name of Alchemy Entertainment. The CD is of a young Russian musician named Eugene Draw (also known as Dr. Draw), that he manages. The CD is titled “The City.”

(Thunberg sent The News a copy of the brand new CD and the quality music is being played as this story is being written).

But Thunberg says that he remembers his roots — and the importance of the small town and the richness it has to offer.

His story:
It is interesting that at this point in my life (I’m now 36) that so much of what happened growing up in Provost has shaped who I am today. I always loved music and whether it was singing in choir, reciting poetry, playing my trumpet in the band or solo . . . I was always somehow involved with it.

For a small community Provost provides so many outlets for artistically inclined youth that you would never find in other similar sized communities or in fact, larger ones. I honestly feel that people like Verlie Meiklejohn, Norma Paulgaard, Beryl Goodman, Jack Dobson, Olea Paulgaard, and Irene McCormick should be honored and held in high regard for the contributions they have made to the music and cultural scene in Provost.
I still remember skipping school every year starting on Wednesday afternoon so I could slip into the churches and halls where the annual Provost Music Festival would be held. I don’t know what it is like today, but I remember all the different choices that I had to participate or just watch. Some of my favorites were; the singing at the United Church, solo instrumentals at the Associated Gospel, piano at the Lutheran Church, poetry at STA, back to the United Church Friday afternoon for everyone’s favorite; musical theatre. All of this ended Saturday with Colour Night at Provost High School which I participated in several times over my teenage years. One year the PHS band even made it to provincials.

Growing up I took all of this for granted, but now realize how it has influenced me in my career choices over the years. I left Provost in 1985 and lived in both Wainwright and Lloydminster until moving to Toronto in 1989.

For the first few years living in Toronto I kept myself busy working at different restaurants and bars as a waiter and bartender. It wasn’t until 1994 when I met a woman who produced Fashion Cares, the largest fundraiser in the country that I realized I needed to work in a creative environment.

Jann Coppen became my mentor and one of my best friends. I became her assistant and worked under her tutelage for several years until I branched out on my own producing fashion shows and events. I’ve done events at the Royal Ontario Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, Harbourfront Centre, and many other prominent Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver venues. I’ve worked for companies like Labatt’s, Diesel, Mac Cosmetics, DKNY, Designer’s Ontario, Fashion Design Council of Canada, Canadian Fur Council, Smirnoff, CIBC, Eaton’s, The Bay, Salon Magazine and many more. Also I spent three years as an international agent for DJs and other singers traveling extensively throughout the United States as well as touring some interesting European places like Slovenia and Ibiza in Spain.

I’ve also worked on many events for charity which I would donate my services as a producer, event coordinator and many other rolls.

I manage a young musician by the name of Eugene Draw (aka Dr. Draw), violinist to be precise who is 21 years old and destined to be a star. Recently I started a record label so we could release a CD of his music, eight of the tracks are original compositions and there are two interpretations including Schubert’s Ave Maria and Handel’s Sarabande.

After violin virtuoso Draw released his debut album The Toronto Star had this to say: “One of our country’s most promising talents” . . . a breathtakingly beautiful fusion of classical and contemporary eletronica.

Thunberg is now promoting the CD nation-wide to music retailers and music lovers (see Blanket Alberta in March 17 issue of The Provost News).
Print version along with photo in March 17 edition of The Provost News.
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Huffed and Puffed and Blew the House Down
Strong winds hit Tuesday night March 9 causing severe damage to a home in Provost. Here the roof that was on the house in the background can be seen piled on the ground the next morning. There was no one home at the time of the damage and no injuries. Tyson Duff who has lived there for three or four months was working up north and said he “couldn’t believe it” when he got a phone call explaining what had happened. A second, original roof was still in place so Duff will still reside there when repairs are made. Located on the south west edge of town, the home is owned by former Provost resident Stacey Rushinko who has moved to Yellowknife, NWT. ©Provost News Photo. Print edition in March 17 edition of The Provost News. Want to Subscribe to The Provost News? Click here.
Crystal Meth, Crack Cocaine Gaining Popularity Here
The executive director of a detoxification centre in Lloydminster says that both the Provost and Lloydminster areas are experiencing an increase in illicit drug use.

Craig Featherstone of the Walter A. Slim Thorpe Recovery Centre told The News in a telephone interview that he has seen a general increase in the illegal use of drugs or drug and alcohol problems in the area as a general trend the last four to five years.

“It seems to be slowly more and more drugs taking over (from alcohol)” but most drug users also tend to use alcohol.

In February, 94 people were turned away from the detox facility because there was no bed for them. He said that there are “lots” of people from the Provost area calling for help.

The centre has six beds—two funded by the Alberta government, two funded by the Saskatchewan government and two “fee for service” beds.

Last year at this time they had between 35 - 45 people who had to be turned away because their facility was full. From the start of this month until March 10, 28 people had already been turned away.

There are 34 people working at the recovery centre, counting full time and part time workers. They try to look after a large geographic area; the other nearest detox centres like Lloydminster are at Edmonton, Saskatoon and Calgary.

Mainly driving the increase, says the executive director are “affluence and availability.” He says that both Provost and Lloydminster are fairly affluent communities and explains that there are a “circle of people who believe it is socially acceptable to use them, (the drugs) and it’s available—so away they go.”

“These are people that are working, making good money, married, have homes, not necessarily the kids on the streets—but some end up there and lose all they have.”
The centre does not take people in under age 18 but they see them from 18 up to the late 40s and into the 50s. An earlier generation including some old hippies that experimented with illicit drugs are either dead, or have quit doing the hard drugs, he thinks. They see more males than females.

The most popular drug in circulation in Provost and Lloydminster is crack cocaine. Cocaine is derived from the cocoa plant, manufactured into a powdered cocaine and then turned into crystals which becomes both “more popular and potent” and is then smoked. Cocaine sells in the area for $100 to $150 per gram (one gram equals 0.035 ounces) and some users consume that amount in an hour.

Crystal meth is the second most popular choice. It’s a synthetic drug that can be manufactured from a variety of home made ingredients. Some people set up an operation in their house and cook the brew, so it’s readily available. “Sure you could buy it in Provost.” The more affluent users would choose more expensive cocaine while the less affluent would likely use crystal meth that costs one quarter the price.

Doctors in Provost said on Monday afternoon, March 15 that they are concerned with illict drug use in Provost and area.

Crystal meth is a harder crystal than sugar and is usually smoked, and a high from it usually lasts longer. Some people start using it on a recreation basis and some wind up getting hooked on it.
Basically, says Featherstone three things need to be in place for an addiction: the drug has to be available; it has to be socially acceptable in a circle of the user’s friends; and the use will have to satisfy some need, like euphoria, or escapism.

Some people says Featherstone —who has a personal history of alcohol and drug use (that’s what led him into his current job to run the Lloydminster operation, but is not a councillor)—may not get addicted if they’re taking it only for the thrill—but if it fills a need, then it becomes an addiction.

“Some people are spending up to $400 per day, at least. It’s amazing how much money they can go through.”

Rest of story along with special interview with an ex-addict in March 17 edition of The Provost News.
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Girl Needs Help With Bone Marrow
Full article in March 17 edition of The Provost News.
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Tubing Valued at $9,000 Stolen
Full story in March 17 edition of The Provost News.
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Street Spokesman
This week we asked: "Why Did You Put You Son or Daughter in Taekwondo?"
. . . and we heard opinions from Tim Mildenberger, Terri Culleton, Ken Siefert, Avis Youse and Mike Dennehy.
Check out the
March 17 edition of The Provost News for their answers.
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This, along with many other stories and pictures can be found in this week's edition of The Provost News.
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